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Visionaries of the tech world who foresaw Apple's future

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 
April first is historically a day to honor brilliant minds who have shared their genius with the world. So many of these have contributed their opinions on Apple over the years that there's not even enough space on the Internet to acknowledge all of their meaty chunks of cerebral output, but here are a few nuggets of wisdom from the tech sector's most elite thinkers.

Apple HQ


Michael Dell on Apple "shutting it down," paying shareholders



"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." - Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell offering his opinion on what could be done to fix Apple at the Gartner Symposium in 1997.

Dell was virtually prescient. Over the next 14 years, Steve Jobs did indeed "shut it down," wiping out one segment of the consumer electronics industry after another and generating such a pile of cash that his successor Tim Cook was essentially forced to literally "give the money back to the shareholders."

Apple's market cap in 1997 was $2.3 billion. In February 2014, Apple distributed $2.6 billion to shareholders, an amount it now distributes four times per year without making an apparent dent in the company's vast cash holdings that are now above $160 billion.

There will be more cash to give away for some time. In fiscal 2013, Apple earned $37 billion on $171 billion of revenue. Dell earned $3 billion on revenues of $57 billion. Dell currently pays 32 cents per share, while Apple pays out $12.20 per share each year. Clearly, if Dell were running Apple he'd have far more money to give back to shareholders.

David Goldstein on Apple "turning out the lights" in retail



"I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake." - David Goldstein, former president of retail sector analysis firm Channel Marketing Corp, describing the prospects of Apple Retail in 2001.

Goldstein's finger on the pulse of retail, particularly Apple's, today appears to have been breathtakingly accurate. Apple entered retail operations in 2001 and within its first two years it began turning out the lights on all consumer electronics competitors in the direct retail business, from Sony Style to Palm to Gateway.



By 2004, Gateway had shut down all of the retail stores in its "very painful and expensive mistake" of opening stores in rural settings and mall parking lots. It did, however take another four years for Palm to follow suit.

Microsoft is still investing in expensive real estate but its stores do not actually appear to be used for "retail," instead functioning primarily as box offices to free concerts. Meanwhile, Samsung is focusing on copying Apple's paleo-retail strategy of partnering with Best Buy to erect themed tables in genius-free settings.

Today Apple's nearly 420 retail outlets each generate on average around $11 million in quarterly revenues per store, and the company has plans to open over 30 new stores worldwide and remodel 20 existing locations within fiscal 2014.

By itself, Apple Retail generated $7 billion in revenue in Q1 2014, which is more than the entire company generated throughout all of 2001 ($5.36 billion). So just by itself, Apple Retail is now four times bigger than Apple Computer was when it launched iPod.

Bill Gates on failing to wish Microsoft had done anything like Apple's iPad



"It's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.' It's a nice reader, but there's nothing on the iPad I look at and say, 'Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.'" - Bill Gates, a philanthropist who got rich selling Apple software, responding to Apple's iPad launch in 2010.

Gates is famously known for selling AppleSoft BASIC, acquiring the suite of applications his company would later market as Office for Apple's Macintosh and then duplicating the Mac as a suite of DOS applications called Windows, which could also run Office programs, including excel.exe.

Steve Jobs Bill Gates


However, after Gates stepped down as chief executive at Microsoft in 2000, the software knockoff firm he founded lost its keen ability to successfully copy everything Apple did, and instead began tumbling into irrelevance. Windows Longhorn failed to clone the compositing graphics engine of OS X across the entire first half of the 2000s before finally appearing as "Windows Vista," a software product now notorious for being hated by the public.

Wildly desperate efforts by Microsoft to copy Apple's iPod and iPhone also ended up as disastrous public embarrassments. However, when Steve Jobs launched Apple's new iPad in 2010, Gates knew from the start that trying to copy such a hardware device would be incredibly foolish for a company that had only ever failed spectacularly in its efforts to deliver mobile hardware.

Zune


Gates keen insight in "not wishing" that Microsoft had developed the iPad helped to spare the company from another disastrous "Zune" or "KIN," which might have been fatal, especially considering the financial hardship the company was already enduring from the spectacular failure of Surface, a netbook that could disassemble itself into a paperweight and an expensive, rubbery keyboard.

Gates' company has now returned to its 1970s roots in writing software that works on Apple devices, just like Apple's own software that comes bundled with iOS and Mac devices, for free.



John Dvorak on iPad, iPhone, iPod, iTunes and Macintosh



"The tablet market has only succeeded as a niche market over the years and it was hoped Apple would dream up some new paradigm to change all that. From what I've seen and heard, this won't be it." - John Dvorak on iPad in 2010.

"I'm looking at this thing and I think it's kind of trending against what people are really liking in phones nowadays, which are those little keypads - the BlackJack from Samsung, the BlackBerry obviously, kind of pushes this thing, the Palm... but I think Apple can do wrong and I think this is it." - John Dvorak on iPhone in 2007.

"Moving from computers to consumer electronics is dangerous for Apple. It's especially dangerous if the company thinks that MP3 players and its variants are the future..." "What's more, [Phi] Schiller added, the iPod is an 'ecosystem!' It's hard to stomach all this nonsense." - John Dvorak on iPod and iTunes in 2004.

"The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'. There is no evidence that people want to use these things." - John Dvorak on Macintosh in 1984.

John Dvorak


Dvorak has been a veritable Schr?dinger's cat throughout his career, cooped up in a box isolated from any outside influence of reality. His possible exposure to some sort of toxic experiment has created a quantum paradox where Dvorak is perpetually both writing and wronging at the same time, an uncertainty that must be seen to be believed.

From his early "dinosaur" days in foretelling far in advance that some 30 years after the Macintosh most people would want to return to the mouseless computing experience of iOS; to his more recent predictions that Apple would be "dangerous" as a consumer electronics vendor; that BlackBerry would end up victorious in its lawsuit against "little keypad" case vendor Typo seven years before anyone else had even conceived of Typo as a product; to his transparently honest confession that what he's "seen and heard" led him agree with Bill Gates that Apple's tablet might only be good for selling apps, Dvorak's prolific output literally smarts when you read it.
post #2 of 105
Congratulations on an article which is the very definition of sarcasam. Good read.
post #3 of 105
Great ! Where do these people hide ? Do they still dare making other similar predictions ?

There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

Frank Zappa

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There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

Frank Zappa

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post #4 of 105
Lol love it
post #5 of 105
My sarcasmometer went to 11 and exploded !!!
post #6 of 105

A Schodinger's Cat, disconnected from reality, in a state of writing and wronging at the same time... a modern day Shakespearean insult.

post #7 of 105
I used to enjoy reading John Dvorak's articles in PC Magazine since way back and he even had an entertaining cable TV show for a while. I'll cut him some slack because he has had some good insight on the PC side of things over the years. But holy cow, when it comes to Apple he'd be best served by just staying as far away from that topic and subject matter as possible to avoid catastrophic buffoonery implosion (CBI). That would be an unfortunate end to an otherwise respectable career.
post #8 of 105

Thanks for the walk down "visionary" lane. ;) I remember most of those "prescient" statements. hahahaha. I couldn't stop laughing then, and I laughed again now. How anyone can still pay any attention to any of these "visionary" idiots is beyond me.

 

Great article! :)

post #9 of 105

:lol: This could have been posted on any day of the year, April 1 not the only predetermined opportunity. :lol: 

Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #10 of 105
You should consider writing for The Onion.
post #11 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAS99 View Post

You should consider writing for The Onion.

Imagine the response this would generate in the wider community... would make a great piece in The Onion though.

Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #12 of 105
Dvorak has been a veritable Schrödinger's cat throughout his career, cooped up in a box isolated from any outside influence of reality. His possible exposure to some sort of toxic experiment has created a quantum paradox where Dvorak is perpetually both writing and wronging at the same time, an uncertainty that must be seen to be believed.

Love that. Writing and wronging at the same time. Dvorak has long been the laziest of the lazy in the tech world and only survived when MS hold was so strong, whatever they did would succeed until MS shifted direction and forced the industry to follow. In that environment, he could flourish without thinking.
post #13 of 105
Very well written, funny and well researched!
post #14 of 105
I had to excuse myself from class while reading this.

Thank you for the laughs
post #15 of 105
One wonders, with a guy like Dvorak, if it ever bothers him that he has built his career around being a guy "at the bottom of his game". Very few pundits have buried their head in the sand for so long, and never pulled up to see the sun.

His brand of biased, myopic reporting is the stuff that landfills are made of. I used to relish the old days on TechTV when he'd collect a gaggle of equally stupid people to have a round table, and they'd espouse "great advice" like "You should all quit your jobs and just day trade!". Great advice in the late 1990s!

The only thing I have liked about John is that he somehow always managed to have a show on TV that dealt with pertinent tech topics. OFTEN, the opinions were completely off, but it was worthwhile to hear the hot tech topics discussed.
post #16 of 105
More! Give us more!
post #17 of 105
Let's move on, not much point of dwelling on past unless it can guide us forward. Apple has done wonderful things/products in the past and we all hope to see many more for years to come. Until then...
post #18 of 105
File under, "Best of DED".......very funny, well-written, and well-timed.
For your sake, I hope you're right.
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For your sake, I hope you're right.
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post #19 of 105

My favorite quote after the iPhone was announced was made by Palm CEO Ed Colligan:

 

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,'' he said. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.''

post #20 of 105
Quality writing, thank you for a good start to the day!
post #21 of 105
"created a quantum paradox where Dvorak is perpetually both writing and wronging at the same time" - Classic!

And let's not forget the iPhone funeral from Stevey B:

Android: pitting every phone company in the world against one, getting a higher number, and considering it a major achievement.
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Android: pitting every phone company in the world against one, getting a higher number, and considering it a major achievement.
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post #22 of 105

I'm surprised Balmer wasn't included...

 

 

...then again he doesn't really need a sarcastic take on his reality.

 

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
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post #23 of 105
That was a good one. Personally I liked his 'horsemen' even more:

Chronicles of Conflict: the History of Adobe vs. Apple (April 14th, 2010)


http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2010/04/14/chronicles-of-conflict-the-history-of-adobe-vs-apple/
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #24 of 105
I suppose because it's April Fools Day I'm giving Dilger more leeway on this type of editorial. This one hits the right tone for today.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #25 of 105
Sometimes it matters less the skill of the driver, but what race is being run.

Jobs saw his role in the industry as that of a Formula One driver, where these others were competing in a demolition derby.
I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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post #26 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

Sometimes it matters less the skill of the driver, but what race is being run.

Jobs saw his role in the industry as that of a Formula One driver, where these others were competing in a demolition derby.

 

This, this is what sets Apple apart, even today, enjoy:-

 

Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #27 of 105
I used to enjoy Dvorak's columns every month in magazines. Then I grew up.
post #28 of 105

"I'm looking at this thing and I think it's kind of trending against what people are really liking in phones nowadays, which are those little keypads - the BlackJack from Samsung, the BlackBerry obviously, kind of pushes this thing, the Palm... but I think Apple can do wrong and I think this is it." - John Dvorak on iPhone in 2007.

 

 

Really, if you don't know what it is, Google it or if you prefer Bing it or Yahoo it.

Innovation or Samsung at its best?

post #29 of 105
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Bill Gates, a philanthropist who got rich selling Apple software

…Microsoft in 2000, the software knockoff firm…

 

YESH! YESH! (add either a dutch angle zoom with background music, “You’re the man now, dog!” or a third “YESH” plus rock riff)

post #30 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrogen View Post

Great ! Where do these people hide ? Do they still dare making other similar predictions ?

 

We haven’t heard boo from Michael Dell or John C Dvorak for years. Dell is too busy trying to save the company he founded. In effect he “sold it and returned the money to the investors” when he took the company private. Dvorak lives in total obscurity on some planet. I believe the planet’s name is Tralfamadore

post #31 of 105
The danger of articles like this is that hindsight is a wonderful thing and its very funny to compare a prediction based on info at the time to what has happened. Of course some of them were stupid at the time let alone after many years. Maybe we should have a predictions thread and we could see how well people do?
post #32 of 105

Dan, thanks for rowing your canoe up and over bullshit mountain.

post #33 of 105
Very nice article!

OT
Could you please write something on the Android's and Apple's ecosystems?
I think they represent the main difference between the Java ME/Symbian market domination before the iPhone and the current Android's popularity.
post #34 of 105

This was a great read to start my workday!

post #35 of 105
I find Dvorak somewhat inspirational, much like Rush Limbaugh, Rob Enderle, Paul Thurrot, et al: a third-rate intellect who somehow managed to indelibly affix himself to an income stream without resort to skill, fitness, or any other aptitude, and whose only principle is "get paid FIRST".

The poster child for scrapped expectations...your idiocracy at work....

Thank you, as always, Daniel - your clarity and focus and sense of history are more than welcome!
If yer gonna bother with thinking different, swing for the fences.
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If yer gonna bother with thinking different, swing for the fences.
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post #36 of 105
While I like John C. Dvorak, this well-written article is a great example of why "meteorologist" and "tech pundit" are the only two careers that any guidance counselor should ever recommend. After all, weathermen and tech writers have the envious opportunity to be great in their field despite being wrong most of the time!
post #37 of 105

I never understood why the media and others do not go back and follow-up with these people and ask them to explain why they were completely wrong and why should anyone trust anything they have to say about the future.

 

It is like those people who run around saying the world is about to end and everyone need to prepare themselves for judgement day, that day has come and gone how many times in recent years and no on going back and ask these people to explain first why they were wrong and what happen and ask them why anyone should ever believe them going forward.

 

AI should attempt to get an interview with all these folks and ask them to explain themselves.

post #38 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

YESH! YESH! (add either a dutch angle zoom with background music, “You’re the man now, dog!” or a third “YESH” plus rock riff)

With that cinematographic reference, my respect and admiration for you just leapt a hundredfold.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #39 of 105

"Gates keen insight in "not wishing" that Microsoft had developed the iPad helped to spare the company from another disastrous "Zune" or "KIN," which might have been fatal, especially considering the financial hardship the company was already enduring from the spectacular failure of Surface, a netbook that could disassemble itself into a paperweight and an expensive, rubbery keyboard."

Microsoft has a market capitalization of $233.5 billion dollars. In other words, the "trouble" that Microsoft is allegedly in now is a rip-roaring steam of success compared to the real trouble that Apple was in for quite awhile, such as when Steve Jobs was forced out in the 1980s where he founded NeXT (failed venture) and in the 1990s when Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple to keep it from going under: 

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-09/worst-deal-ever-microsofts-apple-investment

Gates depicted it as an altruistic move, but it was likely done to keep the federal government from filing another anti-trust suit against Microsoft.

 

And as a corrective to the myth that Microsoft got rich by copying Apple, the truth is that Microsoft and Gates locked up the non-Apple PC business by providing MS-DOS to IBM for IBM's wildly successful PC line, and then propagating it to the IBM PC clones that IBM accidentally created. Microsoft got MS-DOS by getting 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products. Seattle Computer Products got 86-DOS by porting CP/M from Digital Research. 

 

Also, Microsoft introduced a tablet computer in 1999, years before the I-Pad. It was merely a failure, as were plenty of new product ideas from Microsoft and Apple during the 1990s. 

 

Further, Microsoft Basic preceded AppleSoft Basic. Gates and Allen sold the predecessor to Microsoft Basic to a hardware company called MITS in 1976. It was Microsoft's first contract. AppleSoft Basic was not even the first Apple Basic: that was Integer Basic, which came along in 1977 for the Apple I. Apple copied Microsoft Basic for their own AppleSoft Basic for the Apple II. How do we know they copied it? Because Microsoft gave Microsoft Basic to Apple so they could do so. Microsoft's first hardware product? A card that allowed the Apple II to run business software, which was a critical market for any computer company in the late 70s/early 80s as the consumer market hadn't taken off yet. So had it not been for the critical early help that Microsoft gave Apple (giving them a far superior version of Basic to the one that Wozniak developed and giving them the ability to run business software) Apple never would have survived.

 

And oh yes, Microsoft's first iteration of Microsoft Word came out in 1983, and was written for their failed attempt at marketing a UNIX-based operating system, Xenix.

 

So basically none of the nonsense in this article concerning Microsoft is remotely true. And Apple certainly hopes not, because if Microsoft goes belly up, who is going to host Apple's vital I-Cloud product? Microsoft Azure does so for the most part now, with some redundancy being handled by Amazon AWS EC2. Just like the claim that Microsoft released Office for I-Pad first because of "internal sales data" showing that the only Android tablets that are selling are the $50 toys. The reality is that Office Mobile for Android already exists, and full blown Office for Android will come out later this year in order to compete with Google Docs.

 

It is one thing to write editorials, but to make claims that are incontrovertibly false is beyond the pale. Apple would never have been a viable company without Microsoft's software and hardware in the late 1970s, and Apple would probably have gone bankrupt without Microsoft's cash in the 1990s. That is the truth no matter how this author wants to deny it. This stuff is actually beyond the bizarre "I have never seen an Android tablet in the wild" claims (which if were true, no one would still make and sell them) or the "no one buys those Samsung tablets at Best Buy nonsense" (again, were it true, Best Buy would stop selling it just they have with a ton of other failed products). 

 

So just like Apple needed Microsoft yet again for their I-Cloud service because Apple lacks the ability to do it on their own, Microsoft is going to remain to provided critical assistance to Apple whenever they need it like they have in the past. Windows is dead/dying, but Microsoft can make as much money off the cloud and by solidifying their hold on enterprise software by accommodating every single major OS/manufacturer (yes, including Android and ChromeOS) instead of forcing everyone to try to use Windows. (And imagine if Natella figures out something innovative to do with the boatload of wasted potential that is XBox.) 

 

Bottom line: Microsoft, Google, Samsung et al aren't going anywhere no matter how many  yarns this fellow spins.

post #40 of 105

That was a great start to your workday? So you like to start off with myths eh?

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